Thursday 13 December 2018

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Rickety Bridge’s Foundation Stone Range

This experimental craft range, which winemaker Wynand Grobler particularly enjoys making, is adorned with a creative, eye-catching label reflecting Wynand’s innovative approach to the three wines. The blends are constantly evolving, being tweaked by Wynand every year. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the intricate label, designed by the talented Fanakalo team, may make you wonder at what’s within. Chances are that you’ll like what you find!

Where the big dogs are

The interior of the Big Dog Cafe shows off industrial materials.

As I walk through the glass doors of the café on a wintry July morning, droplets pattering on the paved walkway, I feel as though I have strolled into something very, very special.  On entering I am greeted by the dark, alluring scent of freshly ground coffee beans, with wisps of vanilla silking through the air.  At the counter to my left a barista is bustling, working magic.  Water droplets condense on a carafe with lemon water.  The smell of something decadent from the kitchen.  In the garden a willow tree blows listlessly in the wind.  But inside, it is warm, welcoming and friendly. Michael, the owner, is even more so.

Klein Handjies Preschool on the up and up

Klein Handjies graduation 2016

“Change the first five years and you can change anything.”

History, says Lynette Carolissen, principal of the Klein Handjies Preschool at Boschendal, may well show that the decision by Boschendal’s new owners to support this preschool was the most beneficial of all the changes and improvements that they have brought about since taking over the estate in 2012.

The school is an initiative by the Franschhoek estates Solms-Delta and Boschendal.  It moved to its new buildings on the Boschendal estate a few months ago and here its numbers have been augmented by children from the Boschendal community.

Lynette has been a nursery school teacher for most of her life but, she says, the Klein Handjies Preschool, which currently has 51 children aged from three months to five years, is far and away the best she has ever been involved with. She says there are six main reasons for this.

These are:

·         It is set in a clean, calm, beautiful farm environment well away from the big towns and cities which can have negative, harmful influences on young children.

·         It has sufficient staff (seven in all) and this means that great attention can be paid to the individual.

·         It has spacious and adequate floor areas in beautifully refurbished cottages, the quality of which is appreciated not only by the children but by the parents and staff.

·         It is well equipped with books, art materials, educational toys (which are regularly changed and updated), stationery, a playground with its own vegetable garden (maintained by the older children) and a jungle gym.

·         It feeds its children throughout the day with breakfasts, morning teas, lunches and afternoon snacks.  What is more, the food is healthy and nutritious, most of it emanating from Boschendal’s farms and much of it also prepared in Boschendal’s Werf Restaurant.

·         Most importantly, it makes full use of Preschool for Africa’s Play with a Purpose Programme.  The Play with a Purpose systems and educational kits were introduced in 1991, were developed in South Africa and are widely considered to be ground-breaking in child development initiatives. The programme is based on a neuro-scientific framework and behaviour-based theories originally developed by Professor James Heckman, who won a Nobel Prize for his work in this field. He was able to show that the economic return on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) was up to 17 times greater than the same investment in high school education. Prof Heckman’s findings have validated the Play With A Purpose approach, showing that the human brain develops and learns more in the first five years of the child’s existence than at any later stage.  If, therefore, children are exposed to interesting, stimulating activities at this stage their chances of coping with later educational demands, even under very difficult conditions such as overcrowding, will be much improved.

“Play With A Purpose programmes were introduced to Gauteng some 25 years ago by Robin Wieland, who still heads up the Preschool for Africa programme, but Klein Handjies is the first school in the Western Cape to buy into their educative methods.  This exciting change has come about because Preschool for Africa is represented in the Western Cape by Colleen Harvett, a very experienced nursery school owner and principal who, when not running her own school, devotes most of her spare time to promoting Play With A Purpose programmes in the Western Cape – and it was she who talked to Boschendal CEO Rob Lundie, who, she says, very quickly grasped the value and the concepts of Play With A Purpose.

“What makes the Play With A Purpose programme so revolutionary,” says Harvett, “is that previously too little thought was given in farm schools of this kind to stimulating and developing the minds of our youngest children.  If the preschool was comfortable and the children were looked after and kept amused that was often thought sufficient.  It is only quite recently that it has been understood that these initial years of a child’s life are crucial to its later ability to learn and adapt.”

In 2017 Klein Handjies will more than double its current intake and former farm cottages on the school site are being renovated to make this possible.

“This means,” says Harvett, “that it will in time be able to take on pupils up to Grades 1 and 2 – and later possibly they will be able to go even further.  It is likely that this school will set new standards for farm education in the Boland and will find many imitators.”

www.boschendal.com | 021 870 4200 (Rob Lundie)

La Motte Museum exhibition pays tribute to Pierneef

Pierneef Bushveld trees (1955), La Motte Museum collection, displayed on JH Pierneef studio easel with a bronze bust of Pierneef by Coert Steynberg, DITSONG collection

A new exhibition at the La Motte Museum pays tribute to the life and work of SA artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Fittingly titled A Tribute to the life and work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) the exhibition will run for the duration of 2017. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s contribution to South African art and enhances La Motte’s permanent heritage collection with selected artworks and personal artefacts from various South African collections.

Sidwell Yarrow: New La Petite Ferme chef

New La Petite Ferme Chef, Sidwell Yarrow

La Petite Ferme is a Cape Winelands tourism institution. With accommodation, a restaurant and boutique winery it has been offering many a seasoned traveller the complete winelands experience. The secret behind La Petite Ferme’s many successful years is the ability to re-invent itself and keep delivering a relevant and high quality product to each visitor while still keeping its welcoming and heart-warming hospitality at the core.

Boschendal white wine best in SA

Boschendal’s Appellation Series – Elgin 2015 Chardonnay has been awarded the Best Elgin Chardonnay Trophy, Best Chardonnay Trophy and ultimately the Best White Wine of South Africa Trophy at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC).  Additionally, Boschendal was awarded Gold for its Elgin Pinot Noir 2015 at the IWC and to add to these impressive awards – it was also announced that Boschendal has garnered Gold at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) for its Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2015.

Boschendal’s Black Angus herd takes top award

Boschendal's Black Angus stud

Boschendal Estate has been awarded the Angus Society of South Africa 2016 Trophy for the best Black Angus commercial breeder in the Western Cape.

1693 Restaurant Not Stuffy At All!

I have to say that I’m not used to having chefs throw food at me – especially at media lunches – yet that is pretty much what happened to me recently!  Happily it wasn’t done in anger and was all part of the spectacle at what was a most memorable lunch at the 1693 pop-up restaurant in the historic 1693 cellar at Bellingham Estate.

Bridge House students do good in Philippolis

Bridge House students test their roofing skills.

Busy days, hot sun, dusty streets, smiling faces, sweaty bodies and full hearts are some of the phrases used  by Bridge House students to describe their experience working at a community partnership project in Philippolis during the first week of the December holidays.  John Varty, who runs the Tiger Canyons Conservation project near Philippolis, together with the Good Work Foundation, originally set up the project in this area, where one of the most impoverished communities in the country lives. The project forms part of Tiger Canyons’ social responsibility outreach. The Good Work Foundation continues to run this as an ongoing project, along with other projects around the country.

Franschhoek about to become famous for… beer!

FLTR: Franschhoek Beer Company partners Alex McCormack, Frank Rodriguez and Reuben Riffel.

What started out as friendly banter between two friends on a golf course, quickly turned into a dynamic partnership when celebrity chef Reuben Riffel bought into Franschhoek businessman Alex McCormack’s vision to produce a world-class range of handcrafted beers, bearing the name of the town – known as the country’s culinary capital.

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